India anticipates private coal mines to provide 350-400 million tonnes (Mt) of coal by the end of this decade, reported Reuters citing a senior coal ministry official.

The projected increase in production would help the country reduce its reliance on imports, the official told an industry conference.

In 2020, India opened the coal mining sector to private firms following a prolonged period of lobbying. Among these firms were Vedanta and Adani Enterprises.

More than 90% of India’s coal imports are from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.

Amid high global prices, India reduced imports in recent months and increased dependence on state-controlled mining company Coal India.

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By GlobalData

The miner aims to produce 670Mt of coal in 2021-2022.

Indian Ministry of Coal Additional Secretary M Nagaraju was cited by the news agency as saying that the coal mines auctioned to private firms, together with those allocated to state-run companies, are expected to produce 80Mt-85Mt in 2021-22.

Nagaraju also said that production from these mines is expected to surge nearly 60% to 130Mt-135t during the year ending March 2023.

Last month, the Indian Ministry of Coal auctioned 42 coal mines under the commercial coal mining auction process. These mines have a combined capacity of 86Mtpa.

Last year, India’s Ministry of Coal asked Coal India to diversify its operations and invest in areas such as electric vehicles and charging stations, as well as participate in overseas tenders seeking coal.